Three Russian Tu-22M3 bomber crew members died and two others were injured when their plane crashed on a training flight on Tuesday, January 22, the defense ministry said, days after a deadly collision between two jets.
“A Tu-22M3 bomber crashlanded in a blizzard after a routine training flight,” TASS quoted the Ministry of Defence as saying. The plane, which was not carrying weapons, fell apart on impact with the runway.
“Two crew members died,” the ministry said.
Two other crew members were taken to hospital, but one later died, TASS reported.
The incident occurred at Olenegorsk in Russia’s northern Murmansk region. Sources told Russian agencies that emergencies services were trying to put out a fire at the accident site.
The Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO reporting name: Backfire) is a variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime bomber originally developed in the 1960s. A crew of four operates the aircraft.
The Tu-22M3 variant first flew on June 20, 1977.
The crashed plane was produced in 1986 and underwent a major overhaul in 2012, TASS reported Tupolev as saying.
The Russian Air Force operates around 60 Tu-22M bombers, including Tu-22M3 and Tu-22MR variants. They are to be equipped with the new 1,500 km-range Kh-50 cruise missile.
The aircraft has been used in Russia’s campaign in Syria.
The incident comes less than a week after two Su-34 bombers collided in the Russian Far East during a scheduled training exercise last Friday.
Only one of the four crew members involved, all of whom were able to eject, was rescued alive.
With reporting from AFP